Monday, August 20, 2012, Part 3
“In this manner, therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name’” (Matthew 6:9).
IDEA: Speaking to God as Father, as Jesus taught us, reveals a great deal about our relationship with God.
PURPOSE: To help listeners realize what it signifies when we can speak to God as Father.
A couple I know adopted two boys, now ages 12 and 10. The older boy kept asking his new father, “What shall I call you?”
Why do you think that might have been important to him?
If these boys were adopted into your home, what do you think you might have answered?
I. Would you agree with Dr. J. I. Packer when he stressed that how we answer that question in calling God Father is an essential indicator of our spiritual vitality?
Packer (in Knowing God) wrote, “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish is summed up in the knowledge of the fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.”
Do you think this is an overstatement?
II. To call God Father reveals a great deal about our relationship with God.
Is saying that we are God’s children the same as affirming “the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man”?
What is true about that slogan?
What does it lack? Who is Jesus talking to about prayer and his kingdom?
Lessing, the astronomer, asked, “Is the universe friendly?” How do we answer that question when we call God Father?
The sense of God as our Father brings home the reality of forgiveness. The first word the Prodigal Son uttered when he returned home was “Father” (Luke 15).
III. What about men and women who have never had a warm relationship to an earthly father? What could talking with God as “Father” do for them?